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Autumn in Brussels: Don't miss these cultural highlights best experienced in the company of friends
In our seasonal series on autumn entertainment in the capital, we present some of the many events and festivals that are ideal for experiencing with friends. With the curtains raised on Brussels’ busy cultural scene, there’s no better time for exploring the city’s endless attractions. You can kick things off by visiting one of the capital’s countless bars or cafes. What you do next is entirely up to you, the city is your oyster!
In an eclectic programme, the fourth edition of the multidisciplinary international festival Artonov (9-14 October) celebrates Brussels most famous architectural styles by staging concerts and other events in 10 Art Nouveau and Art Deco venues around the city. Ritual and interaction with architectural space are the unifying themes for the performances, which range from music and dance, to fashion, theatre and the visual arts. While young artists fall under the spotlight, established names also feature, such as brothers François and Luc Schuiten (comic-strip artist and architect respectively), dancer and choreographer Carolyn Carlson, pianist Jan Michiels and chocolate maestro Laurent Gerbaud.
Get ready to shuffle those feet at the three-day urban electronic music festival Brussels Electronic Marathon (12-14 October). Selecting the best of the local electro scene, the third edition is spread over more than 30 venues across the capital. The result of a collaboration between numerous local collectives, the BEM showcases the talent the city has to offer. It’s also many-sided festival, with parties, art installations, workshops, talks, introductory activities for kids and their families, and all sorts of other wonderful things. The festival focuses on electronic music, in the widest sense possible.
In one of the culinary highlights of the season, more than 20 of Belgium’s top chefs are preparing to cook up a storm for the 10th anniversary of the food extravaganza Culinaria (17-20 October). Promising an out of this world gourmet experience and spread over four evenings, visitors will have the opportunity to watch star chefs in action and taste their gastronomic dishes. Staged at the Keywest Event Hall in Anderlecht, a passport system enables visitors to choose from various sampling formulas (from €70).
Exploring the theme The Paradigm of Power, the annual Festival des Libertés (18-27 October) at the National Theatre, gives a voice to the rights and values of democracy, it brings together exhibitions, concerts, performance, talks and an extensive film programme, the latter in the form of an international competition. Sometimes the notions of freedom are obvious, as in the play L’Attentat sees a Tel Aviv surgeon of Arab descent stitching survivors of a suicide bombing back together. In others, they take the form of revolution-inspired lyrics delivered by Belgian rap duo Caballero & Jeanjass. In the exhibition Veuves, a story of women’s lives in India, Uganda and Bosnia by photojournalist Amy Toensing. Y
One of the best ways to experience Brussels’ powerhouse arts centre is during BOZAR Night (10 November, 20.00-3.00), a unique concept that combines art and electronic music. Visit one of the centre’s flagship exhibitions of the season before dancing until the small hours. Organised twice a year, the city centre cult event is a meeting place for anyone who loves mixing art and banging tracks.